Lake Level Information

At full capacity, the lake is 18 miles long and has 165 miles of shoreline.  It covers an area of 5,370 acres and holds 377,000 acre-feet at max level.  The max capacity is allowed by May 1.  The source of water is runoff from the surrounding hillsides during the rains.
As a point of reference on the lake elevation levels (above sea level)

  • 825 ft = crest of dam (max. level possible during a Probable Maximum Flood)
  • 800 ft = top of spillway, max. level allowed
  • 786.5 ft = Town Creek lower crossing passable
  • 748 ft = drought level (min. fish and game releases reduced from 25 cfs to 10 cfs)
  • 740 ft = start to effect private launch ramps
  • 730 ft = lose private launch ramps
  • 727.7 ft = bottom of RDR launch ramp
  • 687.8 ft = min. pool, no release to Salinas River allowed (22,300 AF remains, of which 17,000 AF can be used by SLO County via the Nacimiento Pipeline Project)
  • 670 ft = physical min. pool, lowest elevation where gravity flow from outlet works no longer functions

Some statistics on lake release levels at the dam:

CFS (cubic feet/sec) Gallons/Day
35 22.6 million  (0.01′ drop at 800′; 0.02′ drop at 750′)
325 210.0 million (0.13′ drop at 800′; 0.22′ drop at 750′)

For information on the daily releases, elevations, etc go to:

For information on this years Release Schedule, go to: